There is no purer form of art than music in my opinion. It come straight from the soul and is an expression of one’s self and the experiences and life they have lived.
Don’t get me wrong, there are incredible paintings, written pieces, sculptures, etc. but there is a reason music dominates the popular culture unlike any other.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley
Luckily for everyone here, we are in an age where music can be had and made by pretty much everyone. It’s right at your finger tips, all you have to do is get a music making app such as Garageband, which allows you to mix and create music with the help of a PC or Mac. Of course, you could always pick up a traditional guitar, play some drums, rock out on a saxophone, or impress the ladies with your jazz flute.
With this guide I’ll walk you through the options you have to download and install Garageband, the music editing software, on your windows computer, some great alternatives and tips for making the most out of the app.
What Is Garageband?
As an ode to some of the best 90’s grunge bands that started in garages and built their band into the big time music industry, Garageband is Apple’s way of helping the future generations do something similar from their computers.
Since its inception, Garageband has become a whole music creating and editing platform. You can learn to play piano or drums by using preinstalled or outside sourced music on your iPad or computer. There are a number of preset instruments including guitar, piano, drums, and more.
On top of that, you can create your own music just by hooking up your guitar or a mic to your iPad or computer and start rocking out. The app will then record the entire thing and you can use that as the basis for making rifts or editing a song. This allows you to combine physical instruments with electronica and the preset instruments on the app.
When you’re done recording, you can mix the song just the way you want and then distribute it through exporting to a number of formats or put it on Apple’s own iCloud. Apple makes it easy for Garageband to talk to iTunes so you can transfer songs over to listen on your iPod or iPhone when you’re on the go.
Can You Get Garageband On Your PC?
You may or may not know that Apple and Microsoft (Windows) have been competing for the past several decades to rule the market share of personal computing. Windows has traditionally had the upper hand, whereas Apple has always been more niche, higher end, and gaining in popularity recently. What comes with the territory of this feud? The answer may be clear, competition and not playing very nice.
The Mac model is a controlled environment where Apple strictly determines what can be let into their OS X environment and ensures everything plays nicely together. The Windows model is that they will build a platform and let pretty much anyone tack on and add on software to modify it as they see fit. Therefore, you can imagine that Windows is ok with letting Garageband run on it’s system, but unfortunately Apple is keen to limit who can use the app.
Really, the only app that Apple has widely developed that runs on both a PC and Mac is iTunes. The reason for this is simple, they have a significant market share in the music industry with iPods, iPads and iPhones. Apple realized they couldn’t expect everyone with an iPod to go out and buy a Mac so there was a cost incentive for them to develop iTunes for their rival operating system. Unfortunately, Apple has not made any other popular software program that runs on a PC.
This brings me to the sad truth that Garageband for PC does not exist. At least, not in the way we’d prefer in that you can just buy the app on the iTunes app store and install it on your computer without having to create work arounds. Below I’ll show you some tips and tricks to get around this annoying fact and provide some alternatives that will do everything you would want in a music editing software program.
Remote Connect To Garageband
As noted above, there really aren’t any ways to run Garageband natively on your Windows machine, however, lucky for you there are ways to run a Mac through a PC. One option is to use a remote connection from your PC computer to another Mac. This will require that you know someone with a Mac or if you have one at home and want to access it at work that is an option.
You can setup a remote connection very easily using Google Chrome. There is a feature called Chrome Remote Desktop that allows anyone to connect to another computer given they have permission to both and know passwords. Follow these steps to connect your PC to a Mac running Garageband.
- Make sure you have Google Chrome on both your PC and your Mac.
- Go to both computers and install the Chrome Remote Desktop extension (link above) to both Chrome apps.
- Now, head over to the Mac and open Chrome and click the plus for a new tab. You should see Chrome Remote Desktop and make sure you authorize it. Go through all of the permissions and access rights and select yes.
- From there, you will be asked to share the computer, click to share and write down the access code it gives you.
- On your PC open Chrome and the Remote Desktop extension and grant it access and permission to run.
- Then it will prompt you to enter in the access code you got for the Mac and hit Connect.
You will now be able to control the Mac and open Garageband and run it as if you were right in front of the computer. Note, this trick works for any computer, from iMac to Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, Mac Pro, and even Mac Mini.
Of course this requires you to know someone or own a Mac so that you can use it to remote connect. But what if you don’t already have one? Are there any options then?
iOS Emulator for PC
You may be asking yourself whether there are any options to run an emulator, similar to an Android emulator that will allow you to play iOS apps on your PC. Since Garageband is available for both iPhone and iPad this would be a potential option to emulate an iPad and then run the app.
There are several options out there for iOS emulators but unfortunately as of now none of them have the option to run Garageband. They are very limited in scope and do not offer the user to download and install their own apps. It has to be one of the built in supported apps that they have already integrated into their system. So, this could be an option in the future but as of now it’s not a realistic option.
Buy A Cheap Mac or iPad
The best option I suggest doing if you are set to use Garageband is to buy a cheap Mac computer or iPad to run Garageband. Apple has strictly limited the use of the app on their products and a better bet beyond trying to go around it is to just give in and buy a low end Mac.
There are a few options, Apple’s lowest end computer is the Mac Mini, which starts at $500. However, you can buy used Mac Minis for under $200 that will run Garageband perfectly. This is an option to just hook the Mini up to your PC monitor and you can switch in between the two computers as you see fit and whether you want to use Garageband or not.
Another option is to buy an older iPad and download Garageband onto it. The iPad version has pretty much all of the capabilities of the desktop version and it’s easy to take anywhere you want to go. Again, you can buy a used one for under $200 and that way you will be able to mix and create music as much as you want and anywhere you want.
Garageband Alternatives For Windows
There are a number of alternatives that will get you to the final end product just the same as Garageband but specifically made for a PC. I’ll outline the top three in my opinion below along with some specific advantages of those software programs over others.
- Download on Mac, Windows, and Linux
- Completely free, easy to use, and been around since 1999 so one of the more established software programs.
- It’s simple and works when you need a quick and dirty fix to a song or clip.
- Supports mp3, OGG, WAV, and AIFF.
- Live recording
Avid Pro Tools
- One of the best and most renown DAW for Windows and Mac.
- Used by professional DJs to mix and record albums.
- You can do pretty much anything you’d want to do with regards to functionality, plugins, composition, built in instruments, etc.
- Downside is the cost, at $699 it will put you back more than other programs
- Download on both Mac and Windows.
- Another great music editing software by the giant Adobe. Comes bundled in Creative Suite but you can buy it separately at $349.
- It’s an easy program to start using but tough to find some of the features and hidden tools. It’s an app that can keep you busy learning and improving for years.
- I find the batch editing to be really helpful if you want to get through a bunch of separate clips but don’t want to edit individually.
Garageband for PC Claims
There are several sites out there that claim they offer Garageband for PC but I would highly recommend not trying them. Many of these sites are scams and do not provide any real solution to getting the app on your PC. Most of the time they offer a download after you fill out a survey or give them your email address. With that they make money every time someone fills out a survey so they’re just looking to make some extra cash. On top of that, if you ever do download an app you have no idea if it has a virus in it or not. That’s something that you can’t really control and won’t know until it’s too late.
A good way to test out the download link on some suspicious websites is to right click on the link and copy the url. From there you can paste it into a text app so that you can see what the url is. If the website address is not related to Garageband or the website you found it on, that’s a red flag that it may be a virus. Another trick is that you can go to the Google safe browsing site to check and see if it hosts any viruses or is suspicious at all.
Try this url https://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=Google.com when you come across a suspicious website all you have to do is replace the google.com with the website url in question. This will analyze the site and give you diagnostics on whether it’s safe. Believe me, it’s not worth downloading a virus in search for Garageband for PC.
Garageband On TV
This may be something that can work and fulfill a need for Garageband and the ability to make and edit music. You can download Garageband on an iPhone or iPad and from there you can airplay it onto a TV using the Apple TV box. This will allow you to use a surround sound system if you have one installed and let you play music and edit the music right on your TV. Pretty sweet and all for $4.99 which is the cost of getting Garageband onto your iPhone or iPad.
Of course this is not an exact solution to getting the app onto your computer but this can be a good alternative and allow you to mix and edit your music all while sitting on your living room sofa. This can also be great if you have company over and just want to jam with your friends in a social situation.
There’s a quick breakdown of some of the best alternatives. Overall, you will be able to find anything you want to do in the software above. However, it won’t necessarily work as smoothly and won’t be as intuitive as Garageband.